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MindMaze to expand neurorehab portfolio after $125m raise

Accelerated commercialisation of its portfolio and further development of its neuro-restorative offering is planned

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Pioneer in digital neurotherapeutics MindMaze has raised $125million to drive forward the continued growth and potential of its neurorehab platform. 

The business said it now plans to accelerate commercialisation of its SaaS-based platform, particularly in North America and Europe, and expand its neuro-restorative portfolio through further system development and clinical trials in conditions including acute stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury and multiple sclerosis (MS).

MindMaze is already a global leader in digital neurotherapeutics, delivering digital assessments and therapeutics in over 20 countries worldwide to thousands of patients living with neurological conditions. 

To date, the business has built collaborations with 90 healthcare providers and has a product portfolio that has received three FDA clearances and four CE marks across eight clinical indications.

Its financing, provided by AlbaCore Capital Group, is one of the top three private capital raises in the European digital health space, and will help to drive forward its plans further still. 

MindMaze is dedicated to improving the lives of patients around the world through the development of novel digital therapeutic products for the treatment of serious neurological conditions,” said Tej Tadi, MindMaze founder and CEO. 

“We have built the leading neuro-focused digital health platform comprehensively addressing full body motor and cognitive challenges associated with key neurological conditions. We believe that the demands of a rapidly ageing world population make our proprietary, proven solutions more critical now than ever before.

“This investment by AlbaCore will allow us to accelerate our proven neuro-rehab platform and advance commercialisation of our evidence-based neuro-restorative solutions in stroke, traumatic brain, ageing and Parkinson’s disease.

“One avenue to pursue will be to partner with pharmaceutical companies to promote brain repair by combining our digital therapeutic neurorestorative approach with emerging drug discovery. 

“We are thrilled to partner with AlbaCore as we build the leading universal platform for brain health and recovery. This financing will enable our dedicated team and partners to advance in our mission to help patients recover, learn and adapt through advanced neuroscience and digital therapeutics.”

MindMaze’s digital neurotherapeutics platform combines personalised, quantified game-based digital therapeutic content supported by tailored smart peripherals that target two distinct areas of care: neurorehabilitation and neurorestoration. 

MindMaze is partnering with leading academic and medical institutions, including Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Mount Sinai Health System and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in the United States, the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and the Swiss Federal Institution of Technology (EPFL) in Switzerland, and the Institute for the Brain and Spinal Cord (ICM) in France, to further develop and demonstrate the efficacy of its growing portfolio. 

AlbaCore Capital Group’s managing partner and chief investment officer, David Allen, said: “We are excited to partner with MindMaze and empower their critically important mission to change the face of brain health and recovery through advanced digital tools. 

“We believe that MindMaze is positioned to dramatically improve care for millions of patients, and with this fresh capital will be able to rapidly scale.”

Brain injury

Digital information boosts GPs’ support for brain injury survivors

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Brain injury survivors can now access digital information from their GPs to help increase the levels of support and signposting currently available through a new partnership. 

Headway has teamed up with online platform Healthinote to help GPs to give survivors and their carers and families personalised information, which is sent to them digitally after their appointments to read and digest at home. 

The ‘health information prescription’ is presented through visual, immersive and interactive content, and increases both the range and accessibility of virtual resources available to people living with brain injuries. 

Healthinote, which is integrated into the eConsult platform, is in use in over 1,700 GP practices nationwide and can be accessed by over 13,700 GPs. 

The availability of dedicated brain injury resources from Headway, presented via the accessible and engaging channels delivered by Healthinote, is enabling GPs to increase their support to survivors and maximise use of what can be used to support patients remotely. 

“We want to empower people to understand their treatment or condition and supply them with the right health information at the right time,” says Alex Merckx, director of marketing and partnerships at Cognitant, the business which developed and manages Healthinote. 

“Getting accurate information into patients’ hands is very important. Consultations with your GP are very quick and there can be a lot to take in, and while they tell us not to Google things afterwards, of course we all do, and that can lead to misinformation. 

“By using Healthinote, GPs can supply verified, trusted, accurate information to patients and carers, and supplement the work they do face to face. The information is saved to a patient’s electronic record, so if they go on to see a doctor or nurse afterwards, things can be more joined up and they know what resources they have had access to. 

“We are trying to add value to a GP consultation and effectively maximise the customer experience that you would expect from any service, to ensure patients can go away with the information and signposting they need in a format they can understand.”

“The complex, fluctuating and often hidden effects of brain injury can make it difficult for people to get the help and support they need,” says Peter McCabe, chief executive of Headway.

“We recognise the challenges faced by GPs in not only understanding the complexities of brain injury, but also signposting survivors and carers to specialist information and services.

“Too many people slip through the net and are left to cope with impact of brain injury without help of support.

“That’s why this partnership with Healthinote is so exciting.

“It will make it easier for GPs to provide patient or carer-specific information from Headway, whether in the form of our award-winning publications or signposting to local Headway groups or branches, helping us meet our goal of ensuring no one has to deal with brain injury alone.”

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First-of-its-kind brain scanner supports children with epilepsy

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The UK’s first wearable brain scanner of its kind to be dedicated to paediatric use is now in use at a specialist clinic for children with epilepsy. 

The optically pumped magnetometer magnetoencephalography (OPM-MEG) system, based on technology developed by researchers at UCL and the University of Nottingham, is integrated into a magnetically shielded room at a new diagnostic suite hosted by the Young Epilepsy charity.

Professor Gareth Barnes, who has led the project at the UCL Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, said: “This is the UK’s first MEG brain scanner that will be dedicated to a paediatric clinical population. 

“It is the younger children with epilepsy who benefit the most from early diagnosis and treatment, but these children are traditionally the most difficult to scan. The new system will not only allow us to scan younger children, but the non-invasive brain images it supplies may also help minimise, or entirely remove, some invasive surgical procedures.”

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a diagnostic tool which measures the changes in magnetic field generated by neuronal activity in the brain. This activity occurs naturally and the whole scan is completely non-invasive. 

An MEG study is recognised as one of the most advanced methods of recording and evaluating brain function and its use in epilepsy is well established. 

However, traditional MEG scanners are optimised for adults and are of limited use in children. Conventional MEG technology also requires a child to stay completely still for long periods, or even be sedated during the scan.

OPM-MEG makes the scan far more accessible for children, especially those with complex health conditions, as it allows them to wear a helmet, move about within the magnetically shielded room and undertake activities whilst the scan happens. The helmet is adaptable to fit a child of any age. 

In addition, the new scanner offers higher sensitivity and spatial accuracy compared to the current ones.

The development offers clinicians a far better chance of capturing the rich data necessary to inform their decisions on the best possible treatment pathway for children with complex neurological conditions.

Rosemarie Pardington, director of integrated care at Young Epilepsy, explained: “At Young Epilepsy, we are always mindful that each and every child is different. The way their epilepsy affects them will be unique, and personal to them. 

“Having a facility like the MEG is going to make an absolutely massive difference to the children and their families.

“The wonderful thing is that clinicians already recognise MEG as a reliable tool on which to base difficult decisions, such as surgery options, due to the richness and the reliability of the data. This takes it to a wearable form and makes it all a much easier experience for children.”

Conventional MEG recordings are made inside a magnetically shielded room, which suppresses environmental magnetic noise. Rooms built for current MEG systems are very large and require multiple layers of expensive metal alloy for the shielding. In addition, conventional MEG systems rely on magnetic field detectors which must be cooled to -269°C in order to operate.

OPM-MEG uses a different type of sensor – optically pumped magnetometers (OPMs), which don’t need cooling to work. In the new system the patient wears a comfortable helmet with sensors attached, meaning that the sensors are closer to the scalp.

The OPM-MEG system also uses a new type of magnetically shielded room – the light Mu-Room developed by the project partnership. 

The newly created room at Young Epilepsy’s health and research centre in Surrey is lighter and cheaper than traditional magnetically shielded rooms. 

This new development, coupled with the new sensors, will eventually offer a feasible, and affordable option for many hospitals.

The research project, led by UCL and the University of Nottingham, was funded by Wellcome, and Young Epilepsy have also worked with Cerca Magnetics Ltd and Magnetic Shields Ltd to bring the scanner to clinic.

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Mental health app co-developed in NHS launches nationally

An app developed with Walton Centre frontline staff is to be rolled out nationally

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A mental health and wellbeing app developed over the past four years in conjunction with a specialist neurological NHS Trust is being launched into the wider public and private sectors. 

ShinyMind has been continually developed since 2017 and has been created in conjunction with frontline staff at the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust has been using the app among its staff since well before the pandemic. 

Despite the huge growth in the launch and use of mental health apps over the past 18 months in particular, ShinyMind is the only workforce mental health app to have received NHS Proven Innovation status. 

The app was created to help increase support around employee mental health resilience and wellbeing, which is accessible 24/7, and enables people to use interactive personalised resources to develop and thrive. 

ShinyMind has a Net Promoter Score (NPS) score of over 70 per cent and a retention rate after 30 days of over 60 per cent, based on trials with over 2,500 NHS frontline staff, many of whom are working in A&E departments and Intensive Care. 

The vast majority – 97 per cent – claimed the app made them more resilient and a further 96 per cent felt less stressed.

A group of nurses and consultants from the Walton Centre came together with Rebecca Howard, founder of ShinyMind, to develop an app which was suited to the requirements of stressful and demanding roles such as those on the NHS frontline. 

Initially working together on resilience workshops for Walton Centre staff, the development of the ShinyMind app soon became a joint project. 

“Health and wellbeing have really high on the agenda for the Walton Centre for the past 15 years, we’ve recognised that as being a priority for our staff for a long time, way before COVID, we’re very well known for our commitment to our staff,” Jane Mullin, deputy director of workforce and innovation at the Walton Centre, tells NR Times. 

“Many of our staff are really interested in resilience and making a difference so were very interested in working on the development of the app. It took about a year to co-produce it and at that time it was one of the first apps of its kind. 

“While using digital has been new to a lot of people during COVID, for us it’s already embedded and we’ve had some great feedback from our staff, we’ve had many saying they love it and use it every day, one called it ‘digital calmness at your fingertips’. 

“Looking at how it’s now being used elsewhere, it’s amazing that we’ve been part of the journey, and particularly for our frontline staff who were involved in co-producing it, I know they have real pride in being involved.” 

The rollout of ShinyMind is now including the private sector, with protection insurance business LifeSearch being the first adopter. It has also become an investor in the app, supporting its ongoing growth strategy. 

ShinyMind founder and CEO Rebecca, a leadership psychotherapist and behavioural change expert, says: “The majority of mental health apps are CBT-based but this represents just one approach to psychotherapy. 

“In order to provide a resource which works for as many of us as possible, we haven’t tied ourselves to one approach; instead, we have blended elements from different psychotherapeutic approaches. Why? Because everyone is different with very different needs.

“Through a wide breadth of everyday interactive activities, this multi-modality of different approaches is reflected in ShinyMind, to help people find something that works for them. Equally, mindfulness and meditation activities don’t work for everyone. For those – the majority – who can’t always understand and steer their own thoughts, guided meditation is better suited. This is also provided via the app.

“This is the ShinyMind difference, as is the fact that users are encouraged to personalise the app and ‘put themselves into it’ so there’s some graft involved, but then from that you get the gold in terms of the learning. 

“It’s this that makes it so ‘sticky’ unlike many other apps, where average usage after 30 days is under 10 per cent. You put so much of yourself into ShinyMind, that to delete it would be like deleting a big piece of your life.”

LifeSearch founder and CEO Tom Baigrie adds: “ShinyMind proved itself inside the NHS in the most extreme conditions imaginable so it’s a very welcome addition to our network of support services.”

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